|Internet Tax Scams
|4/5. The Senate
Finance Committee held a hearing titled "Taxpayer
Beware: Schemes, Scams and Cons" that examined tax
avoidance scams that are promoted via the Internet. Committee
Grassley (R-IA) said in his opening
statement [PDF] that "Tax scams are as old as the tax
code. The Internet is giving them a thriving new life. The
number of participants in these tax scams is growing like a
weed. The Internet is greatly helping that growth. The
Internet gives these tax con artists the unprecedented ability
to reach out to millions of households cheaply and
easily." See also, prepared statements of witnesses in
Bazar (former seller of tax scams), JJ
MacNab (American Bar Association), Robert
Sommers (attorney), Jay
Adkisson (financial adviser), Joseph
Hodges (ABA), Hugh
Stevenson (FTC, Bureau of Consumer Protection), and Michael
|Democratic Tech Agenda
|4/5. Congressional Democratic leaders and the Progressive Policy Institute
released a document titled Democrats'
High Tech Agenda [PDF]. The agenda includes 10 points:
1. Make broadband Internet available to every American by the
end of the decade.
2. Help all regions take full advantage of information
technology to prosper.
3. Keep costs of access to information technology low and
within everyone’s reach.
4. Increase federal support for basic research and
5. Support science and technology programs and strong
intellectual property protection.
6. Improve math and science education for our children and
ensure their computer literacy by the sixth grade.
7. Encourage companies to invest more in training and
recruitment, and help workers develop the information
technology skills they need.
8. Foster E-business with secure networks and workable
solutions to protect personal privacy.
9. Smooth the transition to the Information Age by updating
policies on exports, trade, Internet taxation, immigration and
10. Foster E-government to improve efficiency and speed public
interactions with government.
See also, statement
by House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt
|4/5. The USITC held a
Section 337 evidentiary hearing regarding the importation of
semiconductor chips with minimized chip package size. See, notice of
investigation. (Inv. No. 337-TA-432.)
4/5. The USTR's
published a notice
in the Federal Register stating that its Trade Policy Staff
Committee is soliciting public comments on U.S. objectives and
preparations for the upcoming meeting of the WTO
Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, on November 9-13, 2001.
Comments are due by May 10, 2001. See, Federal Register, April
5, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 66, at Pages 18142 - 18143.
4/5. Verizon named Michael
Boland to be its SVP for Federal Government Relations.
Boland was previously CEO of Boland & Madigan; before that
was chief counsel and floor assistant to Sen. Trent Lott
(R-MS); and, before that was counsel to the House Commerce
Committee. See, Verizon
4/5. The Senate
Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the nominations of Larry
Thompson to be Deputy Attorney General and Theodore
Olson to be Solicitor General.
High Tech Agenda, 4/5 (PDF, Gephardt).
the Third Generation Wireless Internet Act, 4/4 (HTML, TLJ).
re PRC trade, e-mail, and other topics, 4/5 (HTML, WH).
107-41 Pt. 1 on HR 718, the Unsolicited Commercial
Electronic Mail Act, 4/4 (HTML, LibCong).
|Quote of the Day
|"I'll give you one area, though, where I'm very
cautious, and that's about e-mailing. I used to be an avid
e-mailer, and I e-mailed to my daughters or e-mailed to my
father, for example. And I don't want those e-mails to be in
public -- in the public domain. So I don't e-mail
any more, out of concern for freedom of information laws, but
also concern for my privacy."
President George Bush, April 5. See, transcript.
|4/5. The House
Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and
Investigations held a hearing titled "Protecting
America's Critical Infrastructures: How Secure are Government
Computer Systems?" Full committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-LA)
said in his opening
statement that "I don't think that many people
realize the extent to which our Federal civilian agencies
collect and store such sensitive information -- whether it is
medical, financial or otherwise personal information of
American citizens, confidential or proprietary data from
America's corporations, cutting edge scientific research or
export controlled information, or even sensitive law
enforcement data." See also, prepared statements of
Dacey (General Accounting Office), who stated that
"federal computer systems are riddled with weaknesses
that continue to put critical operations and assets at
Podonsky (U.S. Department of Energy), who provided
demonstration of cyber security penetration capabilities.
Dick (FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center),
who stated that "Currently we have 102 cases (of a
current total of 1,219 pending cases) involving computer
intrusions into government systems. This includes intrusions
into federal, state and local systems, as well as the
military. It should be noted that a single case can consist of
hundreds of compromised systems that have experienced
thousands of intrusions."
McDonald (GSA), who stated "that over 100 countries
have or are developing information warfare capabilities that
could be used to target critical components of the national
infrastructure including government systems."
Tritak (Department of Commerce).
Noonan (Internet Security Systems, Inc).
|3G & Spectrum Caps
|4/4. Sen. Sam
Brownback (R-KS) introduced S 696,
the Third Generation Wireless Internet Act, a bill to prohibit
the FCC from
applying spectrum aggregation limits to spectrum auctioned
after December 31, 2000. The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce
Committee. Sen. Brownback stated that the "wireless
industry is fast approaching a crossroads where it will
transition from voice and text messaging services to a
marriage of wireless mobility with the power of the Internet
and broadband Internet access: the ability to deliver voice,
video, and data simultaneously over one wireless device. This
transition will be made possible by the deployment of third
generation technology, commonly referred to as "3G,"
which combines wireless mobility with transmission speeds and
capacity resembling that of the broadband pipes being laid
primarily in urban markets by wireline companies." See, Brownback
|Computer & Software Tax
|4/4. Rep. Jerry
Weller (R-IL) introduced HR 1411, a bill to amend the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow qualified technological
equipment and computer software to be expensed. It was
referred to the House
Way and Means Committee, of which Rep. Weller is a member.
|More New Bills
|4/4. Rep. Phil
English (R-PA) introduced HR 1446, the Standard Trade
Negotiating Authority Act of 2001, a bill to provide trade
negotiating authority, but not fast track authority. The
bill was referred to the Ways and Means Committee and the
Rules Committee. Rep. English issued a release
which states that "The bill mandates extensive
cooperation between the president and Congress in negotiating
trade bills. The plan also exempts negotiations under the
World Trade Organization from the preauthorization
4/4. Rep. Sander Levin
(D-MI) introduced HR 1484, a bill to implement the a U.S.
Jordan Free Trade Agreement [19 pages in PDF]. The
agreement, which may serve as a model for future agreements,
covers, among other things, intellectual property rights and
electronic commerce, and well as labor and environmental
issues. The bill was referred to the Ways and Means Committee
and the Judiciary Committee.
4/4. Rep. Ernest Istook
(R-OK) introduced HR 1410 a bill which the Congressional
Record described as "a bill to foster innovation and
technological advancement in the development of the Internet
and electronic commerce, and to assist the States in
simplifying their sales and use taxes". It was referred
to the House
4/4. Rep. John LaFalce
(D-NY) introduced HR 1416, a bill to provide grants and
other incentives to promote new communications technologies.
It was referred to the House Commerce Committee.
|Bush on PRC Trade
|4/5. President Bush gave an speech to the American Society
of Newspaper Editors. He addressed trade with the PRC in
response to a question. He said: "I believe that China
ought to be a trading partner of ours. I think it's in our
economic interests to open up the Chinese markets to U.S.
products, to U.S. agricultural products. I not only believe
it's in our economic interest, I believe it's in our interest
to promote U.S. values. And I believe the marketplace promotes
values. When people get a taste of freedom in the marketplace,
they tend to demand other freedoms in their societies. And so,
I'm an advocate of China's entering into the WTO and I'm
hopeful that the current situation ends quickly and our people
come home. China is a strategic partner, a strategic
competitor. But that doesn't mean we can't find areas in which
we can partner. And the economy's a place where we can
partner. And we've got some differences with China, long-term
differences, spreading of weapons of mass destruction is an
issue that we need to work with the Chinese on, as well as
other nations in that part of the world. Human rights is an
issue, but I believe trade will encourage more freedom,
particularly when it comes to individual liberties. The
marketplace is -- the marketplace unleashes the opportunity
for people to make choices, and so I continue to push for
trade with China, and -- " See, transcript.
|PRC Hostages & PNTR
|4/4. Many Members of Congress commented on the effect of the
PRC hostage crisis on trade relations. Rep. Spencer Bachus
(R-AL) stated that "Although Congress voted to provide
China with permanent normal trade relations last year, the law
also requires Congress to grant a temporary extension of
normal trade relations if China does not become a member of
the WTO by June 3. The Chinese are not likely to meet that
deadline so the President will have to recommend a temporary
extension of normal trade relations status for one more year.
... If the current situation continues much longer, I don't
see how Members of Congress could possibly vote to give China
an extension of trade privileges. We need to send a clear
message to the Chinese government." See, release.
Rep. Heather Wilson
(R-NM) said "I have supported free trade with China and
engagement with China's people. That and more is at risk, and
not all of it is under the control of the President and his
administration. In the coming months this House may consider
China's access to the WTO, arms sales to Taiwan, military to
military, cultural and scientific exchanges, as well as an
array of other issues important to China." Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)
said "This reckless aggression, the forced landing of our
disabled plane, and now the holding of our crew and plane as
hostages, and now China's belligerence is outrageous. It
violates international agreements that China has signed; it
damages U.S.-China relations." Rep. Dave Weldon
(R-FL) said "I would encourage every American who is
going to go shopping over the next few days to look at the
labels on the products they are going to purchase and see if
it is made in the U.S.A."
|Universal Service and the
|4/5. The Universal Service Forum of the Consumer Energy Council of
America (CECA) wrote a report on universal service
funding, an ancient system of federally mandated subsidies
and cross-subsidies in the telecommunications industry, that
is now codified in Section
254 of the Communications Act. The report addresses
extending the reach of the program to include Internet
services. The CECA published an executive
summary of the report, but not the report itself, in its
|10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (Fed Cir) will hear oral
argument in Allvoice Computing v. Dragon Systems, Appeal No.
00-1428. Location: Courtroom 402.
10:00 AM. The U.S. Court of Appeals (Fed Cir) will hear oral
argument in Goldtouch Technologies v. Microsoft, Appeal No.
00-1430. Location: Courtroom 201.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association will hold a wireless
luncheon. The topic will be the role of the NTIA in spectrum
management. The price is $15. RSVP to Arlice Johnson.
|About Tech Law Journal
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